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KnoWhat2Do: Saving Lives in North Central Texas

Copyright: Copyright 9-1-1 Magazine, Feature Content

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The Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex and extended region is home to upwards up 8 million people. The 16-county region that comprises North Central Texas is both a thriving business and agriculture hub. 9-1-1 dispatchers are as likely to coordinate response to a police chase on a busy, multi-lane freeway as they are to a call about cattle blocking a two-lane road.

However, there are predictable threats that continue to arise in North Central Texas from year to year. The KnoWhat2Do campaign, administered through the North Central Texas Regional Education subcommittee, seeks to inform and prepare residents for all hazards through disaster education and the promotion of personal responsibility.

The Department of Homeland Security Dallas/Arlington/ Ft. Worth Urban Area Security Initiatives and the State Homeland Security Program grant fund the campaign.

“When we first won this grant, we sat down and discussed what we really wanted to accomplish and what specific threats we would address,” says Randy Westerman, KnoWhat2Do Committee Chairman and Emergency Management Specialist for the City of Fort Worth.  “When we set about identifying a target audience for this campaign, we were pleased to realize that the messages are relevant and speak to all residents of our region, from children on up. It truly is a universal set of practices, crafted specifically to people living in North Central Texas.”

The hazards addressed by the KnoWhat2Do program include severe weather, pandemic or epidemic, gas and pipeline leaks, hazardous materials, terrorism, and carbon monoxide poisoning. It is the hope of the emergency management officials who guide the campaign that by having an informed citizenry, 9-1-1 call takers will find calm, informed person on the other end of the line when a community is confronted with one of these dangers.

The mission of KnoWhat2Do is to educate every citizen of the region on the steps they can take to be prepared for disaster and emergencies. Part of that education is to guide individuals to act on the information presented by KnoWhat2Do, by building their personal disaster kits, discussing, planning and practicing drills and scenarios with their families and keeping current on the news provided through the KnoWhat2Do website.

The KnowWhat2Do campaign was launched in February of 2006. It is available to 254 jurisdictions within the North Central Texas region. The campaign provides standard information to ensure one message is provided to the Citizens of North Texas. It is designed so multiple jurisdictions can use the same materials. A website, www.KnoWhat2D.com, supports the message and materials. KnoWhat2Do also has a Citizens Corps component to train and utilize interested citizens of North Central Texas in times of emergency.

In addition, the various jurisdictions can borrow branded display materials to give KnoWhat2Do a presence at various public events in their communities. Emergency management officials or Citizen Corps Volunteers man a booth and hand out information and materials to further increase knowledge of the program and its tips, advice and messages.

Public safety officers around the North Central Texas region regularly and gladly partner with KnoWhat2Do at their public events, because arming people with preparedness is the kind of investment that yields valuable returns in times of emergency.

-via KnoWhat2Do

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